My husband died May 10th and I noticed feeling very peculiar about doing things we never did when we were married. I am trying to navigate my new life and thought maybe introducing new things would help me.
We loved to travel together but my husband never really wanted to explore the small places in the state we live in. He grew up here and "seen it all". I grew up in another country, and haven't "seen it all" but he was always telling me "it's not that interesting"-fearing that it is just not as old and historically significant as places in my home country (which he adored) and that I will be disappointed.Of course we went to most interesting places, he showed them to me proudly but not the small things.
So now I thought-why not explore, see all those small towns, state parks, antique shops, whatever. My daughter is 15, I know soon she will rather spend time with her friends, soon she will go to college so it feels even more important to do little one day trips together. We try but it feels wrong to me, like I am trying to be mean to him, to prove to him he wasn't right, he didn't do something correctly. Sometimes I like the place we visit, sometimes not so much. It is nice to get out of the house, be on the road even if the destination is not something thrilling. But that feeling that I am betraying him is always there!
We had our traditional trips we did every year as a family, one of them is happening this weekend-a state fair and we will go. Going there without him makes me sad but feels "right" as if it is Ok to go because it was sanctioned by him.
I feel confused as he was never terrorizing us to do things, we even sometimes went places alone as the other had no interest in it. Or I would go with him to a baseball game although I had no interest in the game, but I liked the atmosphere, people-watching, excitement, popcorn :) just to make him happy, and he would go to a yarn festival although he had no interest in learning how to knit but enjoyed looking at sheep, to make me happy.
So it's not like I couldn't do things I liked because of him and now I regained my freedom. I always had the freedom. Now, doing new things is just not only not enjoyable alone, it feels wrong, disrespectful.
Does anybody experience that?
Yes, I feel the same. I want my life with my husband back. After he died I was watching series after series of a tv show on dvd in my language because it was something he didn't do with me. Oh, he would have watched if I asked him to, there are subtitles on the dvd but he would have fallen asleep soon so I never asked.
I try to remember what I used to do before I met him but it mostly doesn't apply-I lived in another country, had a completely different lifestyle than now.
I always loved gardening and I do find joy in continuing. Maybe because it was always my dream to have a garden (I grew up in an apartment building, my grandparents had a lot in a community garden and I sometimes helped them). When I moved here we were renting a part of the house with a large patio/deck and I immediately created a garden in various containers. After we moved to a house I restarted a vegetable garden that was there and then my husband started turning our post stamp sized grass backyard into flower beds. We would go to Lowe's and buy dying plants on sale for next to nothing and had 99% survival rate. We would spend time planing the garden, looking through seed and bulb catalogs and spend almost every free moment working there. He died in May-never seeing a new flower bed with tulips, hyacinths and daffodils as he was too sick to come out of the house. Our fig tree is loaded with fruit for the first time this year (after 5 years since he planted it) and it was him who was crazy about figs-now I eat them and think how ironic it is. The first time I went to weed the garden after he died it felt completely pointless. Why bother if he won't see it? Why continue if he is not here? But... he loved it and it felt equally bad letting the grass to grow back, the grass he removed with so much effort. So I cry and work and my tears dry out after a while and I try to talk to him, and try to feel his presence there. I am keeping the garden beautiful for him and for myself. And as it is hard work it makes me tired physically which is good and helps.
mls64 I do not know if this is something you might try but I wanted to share it with you as it helps me a little.
I also love gardening. This year without my husband it seemed more like work than fun. My husband loved fresh veggies and all I do is cry as pick and eat all this wonderful food. My life without him is so awful, like all of you I want him back. And now winter will soon be upon us and things will get even worse as I fight the elements alone. He was my best friend, soulmate and heart. This ride seems never ending, and it is filled with sadness, lonliness and silence...I hate the silence. Malgosia and mls64 I share your grief.
I force myself to go out and work in the garden. It brings tears but I do it anyway. I am not into "he would have wanted that" thinking-it doesn't help me, frankly I do not believe that he would have wanted anything, as I know he did not want to die and abandon me in the first place. But regardless I know I have to continue living without him as hard as it is. And he created this garden for me, spade after spade of clay soil, he worked really hard to reclaim it and I planted flowers where invasive grass used to be. I do not want all that work to be wasted, forgotten. I do not want that grass to win. And I do believe that hard physical labor that creates beauty can bring healing. I do not feel it yet but after a few hours spend in the garden, even if I cry and sometimes scream into the grass I feel not as bad as when I cry and scream alone in the bathroom.You are never alone in the garden-there are birds, butterflies, bees, worms, plants-they are living organisms. I am religious so I repeat that verse from the Bible that God takes care of every bird and flower so the more he would take care of me. Of course it is hard to believe that now but somehow I do.
We planted a fig tree in the front of the house, where nothing seems to want to grow. For about 6 years we got maybe 3 figs, small but my husband was ecstatic to find and eat them. This year the tree is loaded with figs and they are delicious! What an irony! The only person who really, really wanted and would enjoy figs did not live long enough to eat them. So I eat them every day after I come back from work, feeling that everything is wrong in the universe. But I do not want the ants to eat them as they look so awful when it happens.
I sit in my garden and look at all those flowers and I know I have to keep going. I do not know why, and I do not want to, but I have to. I have a daughter and I know she would not be better if she also lost me now, so I have to continue living. I will not encourage anybody to continue with gardening-I just wanted to share that it helps me to do not loose my mind. I can only hope that it can also help others to tend to their gardens that they used to do with their loved ones.
My husband had a vision for the garden, I have a "green thumb" and some knowledge (I have a degree in agriculture) . Now sometimes I just do not know how to continue as the garden is just started, and often I got lost in his descriptions of what he wants to plant where. And honestly I sometimes didn't listen carefully enough_I couldn't comprehend his "big vision" anyway so why bother. I enjoyed the process and I knew I would love the outcome regardless what it would be. It is just a backyard in the suburbs, small "post stamp sized", maybe someone would say pitiful thing and it is an overstatement to call it a "garden". But I do. What I miss now is somebody with a plan, a design, a vision to help me continue. maybe it will come to me somehow but even if it won't-I still enjoy my garden that my husband planted for us.
And do not get me wrong- there is no enthusiasm, not even joy sometimes, or feeling of accomplishment (although weeding sometimes does the trick-2h of working and so much done, visibly). But I continue. As long as it does not bring me more pain and sorrow I will continue.
I feel the same about cooking . I used to be a "cook from scratch" person, I used to bake a lot and our Sunday dinners were like in an expensive restaurant. Now I could not care less and sometimes buy rotisserie chicken and pasta salad at a supermarket and I do not even eat that as I lost interest in eating. Recently I force myself to cook a meal for my family but no joy there at all.
I hope you can find some joy in anything that you do but I truly understand how you feel and how difficult it is.